There’s Hot, and Then There’s HOT 🔥
If you’ve ever been on or around your roof on a warm, sunny day, then you know it can get pretty hot up there. While you may not be shocked by that fact, did you also know that the hotter your roof gets, the more stress is placed on your roof system over time? Plus, the more that heat builds up in your attic, the harder your air conditioning system has to work.
Roof Threats from Summer Sun and Heat
You probably know that summer storms can cause wear-and-tear on your roof, but there are other summer threats to consider as well. Here are three to keep in mind:
Excessive Heat – Your roof absorbs LOTS of heat from the sun during the summer. Depending on the roofing material, an unshaded roof can surpass temperatures of 170 degrees F on a hot summer’s day! While roofing materials are engineered to be able to handle heat, these kinds of extreme temperatures can accelerate the damaging effects of solar radiation on your roof. If your roof isn’t well-ventilated, these kinds of temperatures will cause heat to build up in your attic. This puts extra stress on your air conditioning system, and can also lead to condensation problems.
Thermal Shock Cycles – Depending on your particular climate, your roof can peak at some really high temperatures during the day and then start to cool off rapidly once the sun sets. This causes your roofing materials to expand and contract quite a bit, which will weaken the structural integrity of your roof over time. Eventually this can lead to warping and gaps forming in and between your roofing materials.
UV Radiation – UV rays don’t contain heat in themselves, but they’re more of a threat in the summer because the days are longer. UV rays reach your roof even on cloudy days, and this radiation can dry out the oils in your roofing material. This eventually causes wood to bleach, weaken and crack (especially untreated wood), and can result in asphalt shingle buckling and splitting.
Is There Anything I Can Do to Help My Hot Roof?
The good news is that these threats from sunshine and heat won’t destroy your roof in a day; the effects are cumulative over time. Still, these factors combine to ultimately shorten your roof’s lifespan. Is there anything you can do to prolong the life of your roof? Yes, there is!
Let It Breathe
Your first course of action should be to take steps to make sure your roof is as well-ventilated as possible. If you have a shingle roof, for example, ridge vents can be installed on new or existing roofs. Ridge vents are raised, shingle-covered openings in the peak of your roof that allow excessive heat to escape. An attic fan with an adjustable thermostat for automatic ventilation may be something for you to consider as well.
Pick Cooler Roofing Materials
If you’re putting on a new roof or are looking at what to do for your roof replacement, one of the most proactive things you can do is choose cooler-rated roofing materials to begin with. A cool roof doesn’t have to be white, either. There are now many “cool color” products available which are designed to reflect away more of the sun’s radiation and absorb less heat. Some of the benefits of choosing a cool roof include lower summer energy bills, extended lifespan of both your roof and your air conditioner, and the ability to qualify for possible “green” rebates and tax breaks (depending on your locality).